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Bipartisan committee of 6 proposed to replace Lauzen's coronavirus task force

Committee expected to move swiftly to disperse federal funds

GENEVA – A draft resolution for dissolving the Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force at a special meeting 10 a.m. Thursday names six Kane County Board members and Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns to a new ad hoc committee to disperse the $92.9 million in federal virus relief money the county received.

The County Board is expected to approve the dissolution of the task force and approve creating the committee. Some 19 board members signed a letter Monday setting the special meeting and its agenda.

The County Board members to be named to the new committee are Jarrett Sanchez, D-Carpentersville, Angela Thomas, D-Aurora, John Hoscheit, R-St. Charles, Clifford Surges, R-Gilberts , Drew Frasz, R-Elburn and Matt Hanson, D- Aurora, according to the draft resolution.

Burns is also president of the Metro West Council of Government, which had urged the task force to allocate $45M to its 18 member communities. The task force did not respond last week to the Metro West Council of Government's request for $45 million.

The draft resolution calls for the ad hoc committee, to be known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Allocation Committee, is to receive all the task force’s records and information as it continues to study options and make recommendations to the full County Board.

The money the county received is intended to defray costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic response, according to the draft resolution.

The purpose of the committee will be to review information and study options for the best allocation of the CARES Act funds and any future federal coronavirus relief funds received by the county, and to make recommendations to the County Board, according to the draft resolution.

In addition to himself, County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen appointed as task force members Auditor Terry Hunt as chairman, Treasurer David Rickert, Executive Finance Director Joe Onzick and Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon notified Lauzen after the first two meetings of the task force were held privately without public notice that the task force was subject to the Open Meetings Act.

The task force held two open meetings after that and a third one is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Organizers of the special meeting stated they wanted to dissolve the task force and form a committee in order to get the money allocated to Kane County communities impacted by the coronavirus.

Lauzen provided the Kane County Chronicle with a copy of a June 26 memo labeled “Confidential” from the task force to County Board members, stating, “Proposed Next Steps and Schedule of Actions.”

“We have listened to the testimony of our municipal partners and that of county directors and officials and we are now better prepared to complete a proposal for the board’s consideration,” the one-page memo states.

It gives a schedule of the next task force meeting July 1, followed by the Executive Committee July 8 and the full County Board on July 14 to act on the task force’s anticipated recommendation.

“Ideally, allocations made will be simple and straightforward, mathematical not political, equitable and prudent,” the memo states. “If the task force recommendations are approved by the board at its next meeting, the task force will have accomplished its function and therefore be dissolved.”

Lauzen said the task force did not meet to write the memo, but he and Hunt drafted separate memos and because Hunt's memo was better, it was circulated among task force members for their approval.

As to why it was labeled "Confidential," Lauzen said, "I marked it 'Confidential.' Big deal."

"I am confident the resolution will pass tomorrow," Lauzen said.

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